Annual Golden Games draws hundreds of participants

North Platte, (KNOP)- The annual Golden Games have been a NebraskaLand Days favorite for more than 25 years.

Hundreds fill the North Platte Rec Center for Golden Games. (SOURCE; Holly Barraclough/KNOP TV)

The games started Thursday morning with breakfast and opening ceremonies including meet-and-greets with Nebraska royalty.

Then, the games began. More than 250 contestants who were 55 years of age and older, played in 15 games stationed throughout the North Platte Recreation Center and their grounds.

Once the contestant completed the game, they received a punch on their card. A completed card could be turned in for a prize drawing.

The games that were available to play were: steer roping, mini golf, ladder ball, corn hole, a photo booth, Wheel of Fortune, casino-style black jack, dancing, bowling, pool ball shoot, speed stacking, bingo, a sweet treat walk, Plinko and the Sasparilla Saloon.

There was also music provided by Ray Mullen and the Flatrock Irreagulars.

Part way through the day a lunch of sloppy joes and cowboy beans was served and then more games. During lunch, six members of the USS Nebraska Gold Crew arrived to the games to mingle with participants.

The six sailors were chosen to come to Nebraskaland Days.
They held a competition aboard the USS Nebraska submarine to see who would receive the honor to come to North Platte and attend some of the events.

Garrett Anderson is a Gold Crew member and says their job can be hard so they love coming to these events.

"A lot of times we find ourselves asking why are we doing this, is this worth it, this is really hard, man I don't like doing this no more and then we come out here and we see all the love and appreciation shown to us and it makes it so much more worth it," said Anderson.

Anderson said he loves to come be involved in the community they serve. "For me, you serve God by serving other people, so it's a really satisfying feeling to see other people enjoy this and appreciate so it's amazing. I really enjoy my job and my job title, I'm very proud of it, very proud to be a submariner. "

The Ready to Serve Volunteer Program helped put on the event and they said it gets better every year.

"It's amazing that we can keep doing it year after year and keep getting the same result, " said Rebecca Blume, the North Platte Senior Center Director. "It gets bigger it doesn't just slough off to the point where you're like, is it even worth doing anymore? It's amazing that the community and people from even from out of town, out of state come every year to participate."

There were also children who helped with the games. Joseph Brannan, 12 years old, and Samson Kittle, 11 years old, helped run the bowling alley.

"The reason I wanted to volunteer is because I was really excited to help elderly people who really couldn't do what we do every day, said Brannan.

"I like to have them get to have fun because we can go out and do it whenever they want like we can," said Kittle.

Patricia Medrano was at the games and said she appreciates the group putting it on to get them out and moving.

"It makes me feel healthy, said Medran, "I depend on my walker I don't get around without so it makes me feel like I mean something to someone and it's just a wonderful feeling."

At the end of the afternoon, there was an ice cream social and drawings for donated prizes. There was a grand prize of a $50 gift card.